(note: the current ECTE statutes are due for revision in 2023)
This is an English translation, the original legal document Satzung ECTE is in German and deposited with ECTE’s registration as a non-profit organisation. These statutes were approved by the ECTE General Assembly in Athens, 27 October, 2017.
1. Name, Legal Address, Registration and Financial Year
1.1 The Association is called the “European Council for Theological Education”, abbreviated as ECTE.
1.2 The Association has its legal address in Korntal-Münchingen and is registered in the registry of non-profit organisations (Vereinsregister).
1.3 The financial year is the calendar year.
2. Purpose and Non-Profit status
2.1 The purpose of the association is the promotion of religion and education. This is achieved both at home and abroad, in particular by:
- promoting and securing the quality of the theological training of the member institutes based on uniform standards.
- promoting and supporting the development of theological training primarily in Europe through publications, conferences, training and the provision of further resources.
- strengthening the significance of evangelical theological education through the networking of the members among themselves, with European higher education, with international theological education and with churches.
2.2 The association pursues exclusively and directly non-profit purposes within the meaning of the section “Tax Beneficiary Purposes” of the German Tax Rules & Regulations. The association acts selflessly and does not pursue primarily economic purposes. Funds of the Association may be used only for the purposes stated in the statutes. Members do not receive remunerations from the Association. No person may be remunerated for expenses which are foreign to the purpose of the association or which are disproportionately high.
2.3 Persons who act on behalf of the association will receive reimbursements for documented reasonable expenses; the details can be regulated in separate rules and regulations for business by the Governing Board. The granting of appropriate remuneration for services is made only on the basis of a written contract. Remuneration for members of the Governing Board is to be communicated to the General Assembly.
3.1 Regular members of the Association are evangelical theological educational institutions. The ECTE Council decides on applications for membership
3.2 Associate membership (with voice, but no right of application or vote) is open to individuals and to organisations such as associations of evangelical theological institutions, churches and/or missions who subscribe to the purposes and core values of the Association. The ECTE Council decides on their admission.
3.3 A list shall be kept of the members, their legal representatives and, if appropriate, a delegate deviating from them. Any changes to the contact data, in particular also a valid e-mail address, must be communicated to the Governing Board without delay. The processing and use of the data takes place solely for association purposes in compliance with the Federal Data Protection Act (of Germany).
3.4 Membership in the ECTE may be terminated in writing by regular and associate members. The withdrawal shall take effect at the end of the year in which it is declared. When the withdrawal becomes effective, the former members are prohibited from continuing to refer to their membership in their publications. Any fees and contributions for the year of the withdrawal that are still due and due in the year of departure shall be paid at the latest with the declaration of withdrawal and shall not be refunded.
3.5 A member may be excluded from the association for important reasons, in particular if his conduct violates the interests of the association in a gross way or if the member is in default with the payment of the fees for two years. The ECTE Council decides on the exclusion with immediate effect.
Before the decision is made the member shall be given the opportunity to justify before the Governing Board his / her written objection. The exclusion decision shall be made known to the excluded by registered letter, indicating the essential reasons.
A letter of appeal may be lodged against the exclusion decision within one month of receipt of this letter to the next General Assembly, which then decides finally on the decision against the member not present in the meeting. The appeal must be justified. In so far as this remedy is not used or is not used in time, or without justification, or if the decision is confirmed, the member submits to this decision with the result that the latter is no longer accessible to further judicial control. This is to be pointed out in the exclusion decision.
3.6 If a member ceases to operate, the membership automatically ends.
4. Organisational Bodies
Organisational bodies of the Association are:
- the General Assembly
- the Council
- the Governing Board
5. The General Assembly
5.1 At least every two years, all members are to be convened at a general assembly, the date of which is announced at an early stage. The meeting is convened in writing by the Council at least 14 days before the meeting date. The invitation contains the agenda.
- Requests for the agenda must be received by the Council no later than 2 months before the date of the meeting.
- Members must register for the meeting within the deadline set by the Council and declare who is to represent them in the General Assembly.
5.2 The General Assembly is chaired by a person appointed by the Council.
5.3 Additional General Assemblies must be convened if the interest of the association requires it, or at least one third of the regular members of the association require the convening of the meeting in writing, specifying the purpose and reasons.
5.4 Any duly convened General Assembly shall be quorate without regard to the number of the members present.
5.5 Associate members may delegate up to two non-voting observers in an advisory capacity to the General Assembly.
5.6 The responsibilities of the General Assembly are:
- to elect the Council as well as its Governing Board
- to approve the budget;
- to accept the report of the Council
- to commission an independent expert to audit the accounting and to report his/her findings to the General Assembly
- to discharge the treasurer, Council and governing board (Entlastung erteilen)
- to approve the EEAA accreditation standards
- to discuss and decide on future activities of the association.
5.7 Decisions of the General Assembly are made by simple majority of the valid votes cast. This also applies to decisions, which are made in text form outside a general meeting.
- Decisions are made by public vote unless a secret ballot is requested by at least 30% of the voting members present.
- Changes of the statutes need a 2/3 majority of the valid votes cast.
- The Council may – by simple majority of valid votes cast -amend those parts of the statutes which have been questioned or a change has been requested by the registry or the tax authorities. These changes are to be communicated to the members in minutes.
5.8 Minutes of the decisions are to be recorded at the General Assemblies and signed by the appointed secretary and meeting chairman.
- The minutes must be sent to all members in written format.
- Objections against the correctness of the minutes may only be raised within four weeks from the date of dispatch of the minutes. The Council decides on an objection by hearing the meeting chairman and the secretary compiling minutes.
6. The Council
6.1 The Council consists of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, and three to seven other members. Three Council members shall, if at all possible, not be directly associated with a member. Should the Council appoint a General Secretary she or he is an ex-officio member of the Council (with voice but no vote).
6.2 The Governing Board according to § 26 of BGB consists of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Each of them is authorized to represent the Association individually.
- Members of the Governing Board and the Council are elected by secret ballot for a period of four years. The Governing Board remains in office until a new election has taken place. Re-election is possible.
6.3 The Council conducts the day-to-day business of the association, unless tasks have been assigned to another entity of the association by the statutes. The tasks of the Council are in particular to
- formulate, monitor and implement the association’s strategic plan
- vet the decisions of its departments, i.e. the “EEAA” accreditation department for quality assurance (until December 2021)
- give instructions to the employees
- decide on the admission of new members to the association
- prepare the General Assembly and elections
- monitor the handling of finances of the association and elect the treasurer
- select staff, such as a general secretary.
6.4 The Council may appoint committees to deal with special issues, invite advisors and hire staff as needed.
6.5 The Council is to be convened in writing by the Governing Board at least once a year through written invitation including an agenda two weeks prior to the scheduled date of meeting. Minutes of the decisions made during the meeting are to be kept. The minutes are to be signed by the meeting chairman and the appointed secretary and sent to all Council members.
6.6 Details can be defined in a business regulation.
7. Income and Profits
7.1 Income consists of fees, asset management and grants/donations.
7.2 The General Assembly decides on the type, amount, basis and due date of the membership fee and can determine this in detail in a contribution schedule. The annual membership fee currently determined by the Annual General Meeting shall be due upon admission to the association, otherwise the dates apply as determined by the meeting. The Council may, in justified individual cases, reduce the membership fee or waive it altogether.
8. Duration and Dissolution
8.1 The Association exists for an unlimited period of time.
8.2 The dissolution of the Association can only be decided at a General Assembly by a 3/4-majority vote of members present as long as the dissolution was part of the submitted agenda.
- The invitation to this General Assembly must be sent out at least four weeks prior to the meeting.
8.3 In the event of the dissolution of the association or in the event that tax-privileged purposes cease to exist, the assets of the association fall to a tax-privileged body for use for non-profit purposes within the meaning of § 2 of these Statutes, i.e. for the promotion of evangelical theological training in Europe.
8.4 In the event of dissolution of the Association, the liquidation shall be carried out by the members of the Governing Board who are in office at the time of dissolution, on the provisions governing the resolution and representation in the Articles of Incorporation unless the resolution of the General Assembly decides otherwise
The following bylaws apply to elections of Council members in the General Assembly. Adopted by the 1997 ECTE General Assembly.
- The Accrediting Council, through the General Secretary, informs the members of the vacancies to be filled in its ranks and calls for nominees to be proposed before a fixed date well in advance of the next biennial General Assembly.
- The Accrediting Council, through the General Secretary, must inform all ECTE members which persons have been nominated, on its convocation for the General Assembly.
- During the General Assembly, nominations from the floor are excluded. It is determined by the Council how many members are to be elected.
- The General Assembly elections are chaired by a person selected by the Council. This person designates those who count the votes.
- Before the elections, the nominees are introduced to the Assembly.
- The voting members indicate their choices for election:
- Elections will be held by secret ballot.
- Each voting member has as many persons to vote for as members to be elected for the Council.
- No voting member may cast more than one vote for the same person.
- The number of persons to be elected receiving the highest number of votes are elected.
- After the new configuration of the Accrediting Council has been thus established, a second election by secret ballot will take place for the election of a Chairman and /or Vice-Chairman, according to current need.
For a general introduction to the ECTE’s identity, activities and organisations see Introducing the ECTE.